The Grief Cycle

Morissa LloydPsychotherapy

As humans, we all experience grief throughout our life. 

The Grief cycle has five main experiences: 

  1. Depression
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining 
  4. Denial 
  5. Acceptance 

There is no specific order in which these five main experiences occur during the grief cycle. Many individuals experience a period of depression during grief. At this stage, individuals feel empty and tend to withdraw from life. Feelings of irritability and frustration mean you are entering a period of anger. In this stage, individuals tend to think, “why me?” and want to place blame on someone or something. Bargaining tends to be the stage of false hope and guilt. Individuals are willing to negotiate with what they feel can bring their life back to their normal state and familiarity. Individuals may be playing out what-if scenarios in their heads. The stage of denial is the stage of confusion. One might think life makes no sense and be overwhelmed and in shock. 

Integrative grief is a healthy form of grief. Individuals experiencing this type of grief are moving between stages and will reach a point of acceptance. Although it is also normal to experience all of these again, even with acceptance.  If the individual experiencing grief is constantly and experiencing only one of the four stages, they may be experiencing complicated grief. External support can help an individual experiencing all types of grief. It is incredibly important to know that grief is a normal and expected part of life and there is no one right way to experience grief. 

If you feel you need external support for grief, you can book a complimentary consultation by calling us at (403) 454 – 7600 or visiting our website at We are here to help.